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It’s August 1941, and Brick and Mariel both love the Brooklyn Dodgers. Brick listens to their games on the radio in Windy Hill, in upstate New York, where his family has an apple orchard; Mariel, once a polio patient in the hospital in Windy Hill, lives in Brooklyn near the Dodgers’ home, Ebbets Field. She was adopted by Loretta, a nurse at the hospital, and has never known what happened to her own mother. Someday, somehow, she plans to return to Windy Hill and find out. When a fire destroys their orchard, Brick’s parents must leave the farm to find work. They send him to live in Brooklyn with their friend Loretta, even though Brick knows that their elderly neighbors need his help to pick what’s left of the apples. The only good thing about Brooklyn is seeing the Dodgers play–that, and his friendship with Mariel. Maybe, together, they’ll find a way to return to Windy Hill, save the harvest, and learn the truth about Mariel’s past.
When a fire destroys the apple crop on his family's upstate New York farm in 1941, a boy is sent to live temporarily in Brooklyn. There he befriends a young polio victim who wishes to accompany him home. "Giff brings together two appealing young characters in this story of friendship, family and finding where one belongs," said PW. Ages 8-12. (Apr) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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Newbery Honor novelist Giff (Lily's Crossing) brings together two appealing young characters in this story of friendship, family and finding where one belongs. When fire destroys the apple crop on his family's upstate New York farm in 1941, Brick's parents must find work elsewhere and send their son to live temporarily in Brooklyn with Loretta, an old friend. Loretta, a nurse, years before adopted a young polio victim, Mariel, whom she had cared for in a hospital located near Brick's family's farm. Though she loves Loretta, the girl is determined to find her birth mother, of whom she has faint memories. Mariel is drawn to the likable Brick, yet initially her embarrassment at her polio-scarred legs (which, in her mind, "curved like the pretzels in Jordan's candy store") prevents her from talking to him. But when he shares his resolve to return home to help a beloved elderly neighbor harvest his apple crop, Mariel encourages him to make the journey. Impulsively, she decides to accompany him and to visit the hospital where she was taken when stricken with polio, hoping to find clues to her mother's identity. The pieces of the plot snap together a bit too easily and snugly as Giff solves each youngster's dilemma. More credible is the emotion that runs high and affectingly throughout the narrative, as well as the many period details. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved